Aurian by Maggie Furey
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback|
|Release Date:||July 1, 1994|
Before I proceed with my review, I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to my friend and fellow pharmacy technician Allie for giving (for the sake of this review, they shall be hereafter referred to as “donated”) me not just this novel, but the entire series.
When one thinks of a traditional fantasy story, they usually think of a grand sweeping epic featuring a small cast that goes off to a distant land in order to battle a great evil that threatens all life. The Frodos, the Aragorns, Gandalfs and companion-du-joirs of our favorite stories are but the victims of the world around them, and we get little if any true personal growth outside of rising to become king or making it to Mount Doom. While I have no problems with such stories, sometimes you want to sit back and relax with a nice, character-driven adventure featuring a cast you cannot help but love, who eventually take on a villain you delight in despising for all the right reasons.
Aurian is the debut novel of Maggie Furey, and I could not think of a better way to start off one’s career than with such a sweeping tale that has such likeable and rich characters, set in a world that is equally endowed with depth and history.
The novel’s story is broken into four parts, each chronicling the life of the titular Aurian: a beautiful young woman who is the daughter of a fire mage who met a tragic end in a magical accident, and an earth mage mother who initially is overcome with grief to the point that she neglects her own child. During her childhood, Aurian is met by Forral, a traveling swordsman and friend to her deceased father, who stays with Aurian to act as her steward and eventually teaches her swordplay. When a near-fatal accident causes him to flee with grief, Aurian starts part two of her life by traveling to the city of Nexis, where mage-kind rule the mortal denizens through a mix of magic and some fear. Here is where she not only hones her magic and becomes known to the other mages, but also attracts the attention of the Archmage Miathan (ten bucks on this guy being the villain. Just saying). She also befriends many mortals, and meets her old friend Forral once more. Who becomes more than her old friend.
Part three and four of Aurian’s life are the more action-oriented and exciting parts of the novel, where Aurian is trapped within a brooding depression, knows that an important task awaits her, and most importantly of all, she is carrying some very precious cargo. What is that cargo, you may ask? You’ll need to read the book to find that out.
Those who have read the book may have noticed I left out many of the characters, plots, subplots, relations and relationships that drive the story through at an exhilarating pace, but these are gems that I cannot bring myself to reveal to people, lest I fear tarnishing their worth. Needless to say, the characters are all spectacular and well-rounded characters, who are all in their own ways unique, instantly identifiable, and likeable. Every character plays an essential role, and none of them are dominated by their gender or any single trait which would make them typical. The hero characters are enjoyable because they all have faults that they must battle and overcome by finding strength in one another. The villains (and there are a few) are so much fun to watch and so slimy and wicked in their own little ways. What’s more is that every character is, in some way, tied to all the others, and so events in one subplot or relationship potentially could send ripples through all of the others. Miathan is downright diabolical and probably one of the most credible villains I’ve read. His vendetta against Aurian is personal, and he makes it painfully clear to her.
The magic system is an interesting take on elemental magic, which is one of the more clichéd niches in magic. However, here it feels fresh and unique, especially when you learn the very rich history of the Magefolk and how they came to be. The world our characters live has a very old, majestic feel to it, and once we step out of Nexis and into the bigger world we find that it is a place rich in various cultures and with many more denizens.
Aurian’s journey is a personal one, and though she is never portrayed as a meak, cowardly individual, there are plenty of times when she is left emotionally scarred and brutalized. Never once though, does she lose our sympathy or support. Her triumphs become ours, and her failings and loses hurt the reader as if we had been transplanted to her body and the blow was delivered to us. She remains strong because she knows what needs to be done, and Aurian’s skill with her sword and magic is equaled by her compassion and love for her friends, as well as the need to defeat Miathan and end his oppression.
Without a doubt, this has been one of the most enjoyable novels I have had the pleasure of reading, and I sincerely hope you will all go to find a copy. If you enjoy amazing characters set in a rich world, you will most certainly find yourself liking Aurian. I hope you’ll all stay tuned for the next time, as I have a very special novel in mind to share.
Narrative: Very tight and concise. The pacing is very good throughout. – 5/5
Heroes: Fresh, strong, unique and enjoyable. We know who they are and enjoy their journeys immensely. Our heroine is probably one of the strongest and deepest that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. – 5/5
Villains: Few things are as delectable as a good villain. Miathan is maniacal and downright cruel to our heroine. – 5/5
Plot: While it does take a while to get into the actual plot, once we’re involved it’s enough to keep the story running. This is all it needed to do. – 5/5
Magic: A fresh take on a time-honored system. – 5/5
World: A very beautiful setting with a great history and little secrets to discover. – 5/5